TYPO SF & Eye: new guest blogs on typography and design

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I recently got the chance to contribute blogs to not one, but two fantastic outlets on typography and graphic design in general: the event blog for the inaugural TYPO San Francisco—the American manifestation of Europe’s “premiere design event”—and Eye magazine’s blog column, Type Tuesday.

Read on to learn more about TYPO SF and what #FontSunday has to do with Type Tuesday.

Blogging TYPO SF

For TYPO San Francisco, I had the singular opportunity (and pleasure) of volunteering for the event’s Press Team, a seriously on-the-ball squad of designers, writers, and Tweeters who dedicated a sizable portion of their time at the conference to keeping the wide, wild world of the web informed of the goings-on.

My duties there included recapping the following presentations:

Heath Kessler’s The Pendulum Swings Back: Creating Opportunities for an Online Community in the “Real World”

Heath Kessler speaking at TYPO SF

Heath Kessler speaking at TYPO SF

Kessler, art director at San Francisco’s own web and print magazine The Bold Italic, offered guests a fascinating glimpse of the creation and evolution of his publication. A unique response to the worldwide crisis faced by local  journalism—namely, evolve or die—The Bold Italic tackles a rapidly changing local media landscape by soliciting the input and expertise of local writers and designers. In other words, letting the source speak for itself.

To learn more about the magazine and its groundbreaking integration of the digital and physical environments it seeks to cover, check out my recap of Kessler’s talk on the TYPO San Francisco blog.

Juliette Bellocq’s Becoming a Microscope

Juliette Bellocq speaking at TYPO SF

Juliette Bellocq speaking at TYPO SF

Taking her title from a creative method developed by famed artist, designer, activist and nun, Corita Kent, Bellocq gave attendees a whirlwind tour of her own output, which often employs graphic design as a means of encouraging creative interaction between individuals and their communities. Celebrating the acts of hand-making, creating scenarios, and enjoying good food, Bellocq and her studio, Handbuilt, facilitate community engagement with and innovative solutions to pervasive problems.

Read my summary of her presentation to learn more about placing creative work at the heart of generating change.

Sean McBride’s A Renaissance in Web Typography

Sean McBride speaking at TYPO SF

Sean McBride speaking at TYPO SF

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re living in the midst of a renaissance. For the less type-inclined, it might be less than apparent, but we’re all enjoying its foremost benefit: an improved reading experience on the web.

Sean McBride is one of the engineer-cum-designers working at Adobe’s (recently acquired) Typekit, one of the major web font hosting services. For his presentation, McBride shared his insights into the current renaissance in web typography—which, if you’ve been living under a rock, is due to the now much-wider range of fonts available to web developers via the @font-face CSS spec.

McBride covered the history of web typography, the development of the @font-face spec for CSS, how to use it, and most interestingly, why web font hosting services such as Typekit are so valuable for contemporary web design. Learn more about the typographic renaissance we’re living through at the TYPO SF blog.

Designers in Dialogue: Parra and Jason Munn

Parra and Jason Munn speaking at TYPO SF

Parra, Jason Munn, and Joseph Becker speaking at TYPO SF

Subtitled Music Matters: Graphic Design, Typography, and the Art of the Poster, this talk featured a conversation between designers Jason Munn, Parra, and curator Joseph Becker. Munn and Parra are two radically different designers who often approach the same problem—how to translate music into words and images in show posters and tour merchandise—from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Munn excels in expressing complex concepts in the most minimalistic and conceptual of manners, transforming a car, the serpentine trail of skidmarks, and the paths of two trailing bullets into the story of Bonnie and Clyde. A near polar opposite, Parra works with hand-drawn, highly organic type and surrealistic, beaked characters to depict moments captured from incomplete narratives (often drawn from his personal experiences).

Dive into these two designers’ disparate but equally innovative careers at the TYPO SF blog.

Note: All TYPO SF photos above are courtesy of Amber Gregory

Guest blogging for the Eye blog: #FontSunday … on #TypeTuesday

Helvetica on a composing stick

Helvetica on a composing stick, via the Museum für Gestaltung

I have a confession to make: I’ve come to love Twitter.

Why? Well, it’s a great place to find the latest-breaking news—and the latest-breaking opportunities. I discovered my chance to blog for TYPO San Francisco through Twitter, and I also earned my shot to blog for the venerable Eye magazine there.

For my Eye blog contribution, I detailed the recent Twitter phenomenon for typomaniacs: #FontSunday. This hashtag represents a social media initiative by the UK’s Design Museum that asks the type-obsessed of all stripes to post pictures of their favorite fonts and typographic settings for all to enjoy.

It was easy enough to delve into the event itself, which offers up a literal flood of beautiful type, but learning about the genesis and history of the event itself proved frustrating—as is generally the case with events that take place on Twitter. The site does a great job of focusing on the new, the now, and the ephemeral. Archiving that now, on the other hand, isn’t a strong suit.

So I reached out to the Design Museum itself via Facebook, and the organization was kind enough to supply some richly detailed answers, of which you can learn more on my post on the Eye blog. My sincere thanks to editor John L. Walters for allowing me to contribute to his fabulous Type Tuesday column.